Twelve years bleeding. Twelve years suffering. Twelve years unclean.
A little girl lying down. A little girl dying. A little girl dead.
A dead girl and a sick woman.
In my Bible, that’s the title given to a favorite passage.
In Mark 5, it reads like this:
When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around Him while He was by the lake. Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at His feet. He pleaded earnestly with Him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put Your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” So Jesus went with him.
Jesus healed many, many, many people while He walked on earth. Besides the girl in this passage, He raised two others from the dead (Luke 7:11-17, John 11:1-44).
Last week, I wrote a My Prayer post about the power of God. And that power has been on my mind since, so I’ve read some Scripture about that power in action through the miracles Jesus worked.
Sometimes in reading of the miracles of Jesus, we can be a bit nonchalant about it all. We say we believe this happened, but it feels so far removed from us by time and culture that it really isn’t that big of a deal in our mind, our heart.
But when we stop and take time to think about what happened, that the impossible happened, that the power of God was unleashed and displayed, we can’t help but be wonderstruck, we can’t help but be awe-filled.
So let’s really slow down and take a deep look at this passage, examining it’s characters and many facets, so we may be wonderstruck, we may be awe-filled:
As Jesus enters the scene, a large crowd gathers and presses around Him. This was a regular occurrence for Jesus, this sea of humanity swelling and flooding and surrounding.
A sea. A million drops. A tide ebbing and flowing. One makes their way close, only to have others jostle and outmaneuver for better position. In such a sea, one could get lost. Just another face in the crowd.
Yet each one in that crowd possessed their own story, with their unique joys and sorrows, strengths and weaknesses, desires and pains.
And Jesus, Creator and Sustainer of all, King of kings, the Incomparable One, chose to dive into that sea of humanity. God became flesh and dwelt among men. To Him, each face was not just another face in the crowd, not just another drop in the sea. Each was a person, a life. One He had created with His own hands and breath. One whose days He ordained. One whose tears He collects. One He loves and longs to have relationship with. One He would die to save.
Do we believe God knows us? Do we really believe God really knows us? When we pray, when we worship, when we read the pages of His Word, when we follow His guidance, do we do so with the confidence that all-knowing God knows us?
From amidst the crowd comes a man, Jairus. His little girl is deathly ill. She’s too young to die. In humility, he kneels before Jesus. In faith He asks Jesus to heal his daughter.
Jesus possessed the power to heal her right then and there (Luke 7:1-10), but Jairus requested He come and lay His hands on her.
The “lay” used here comes from the Greek word epitithemi. It means “to impose, in a friendly or hostile sense”.
This laying on of hands, it is close and personal. A stepping into someone’s space while forsaking your own “personal bubble”. A reassurance of closeness, of proximity.
Jairus wanted Jesus to “impose”, as a friend, as someone who cares for this little daughter. And as Jesus’ hands “imposed” the girl’s space, so His power would impose her body and the sickness, driving it out. Jairus sought a personal encounter with the power of God for his daughter.
And Jesus, never one to shy from the personal, the intimate, went with Jairus.
From amidst the crowd comes a woman. If only I can touch His clothes. She has been bleeding for twelve years. In this time and culture, she would be considered unclean, due to her condition. No human would touch her, for to do so would be to ruin their own cleanliness (Leviticus 15:19-31).
Many doctors with many treatments have endeavored in vain to bring about wellness. But it has only been suffering for her.
In humility the woman followed Jesus, coming up behind Him. In faith she touched His cloak. And she was healed! Immediately she was healed! And more than that, she was free!
Who touched my clothes? It was not the touch of bump and jostle as people press around… power was released, it was a touch of faith. Who?
In asking the question of who touched His clothes, Jesus made known to the woman that He wanted to do more than heal her. If that was His only goal, He could have just kept walking with Jairus and let the woman go her own way. Jesus knew the woman, and He wanted her to know she was known.
Jesus said, “Daughter”… what a term of endearment, of love, of belonging, of knowing… “your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from you suffering.” He spoke blessing of restoration and freedom into her life. His power did more than heal a physical malady. It restored. It freed. It gave her identity as His.
When we request God’s intervention in our life - a healing, a making possible, a guiding and directing - are we letting Him “impose”? Are we allowing Him access to all our space, to our whole life? Letting Him get close and personal? Letting His power impose and cut to the heart and drive out anything not of Him? Are we letting His power go beyond the physical curing, to deep spirit-healing?
We may believe God knows us, but do we believe God knows what’s best for us? Do we trust that His way is best, that He is best?
From amidst the crowd come some people. They have come from Jairus’ house. His daughter is dead. While the woman was healed of bleeding and suffering, restored to full life, the little girl was subjected to worsening illness, leading to death.
Don’t bother the Teacher anymore. It’s too late.
Too late for his daughter to be healed. Too soon for such a little one to die.
But Jesus told Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” And He kept making His way to the girl.
Reading this story, looking back some 2000 years, it’s easy for us to see how much more Jesus was able to reveal His power and divinity in raising the girl from the dead. But it probably wasn’t easy for Jairus to “just believe”.
How often do we give up on the power, the miracles of God? What if, in those difficult, trying times, death has to occur in order for God to fully unleash His power? For both Jairus and the woman, a death to pride had to take place, death to fearing what others would think, death to trusting in only what is seen, what is logical. And from that death, faith was born.
When God assures life in the midst of death, do we trust? Or, like the crying and wailing people, like Abraham and Sarah after the promise of child, do we laugh the laugh of unbelief (Genesis 17:17, 18:12)?
Jesus took the little girl by the hand. When He did so, did she jolt awake and bolt upright with the surge of divine electricity in her veins? Or did she calmly, peacefully open her eyes and climb out of bed as a tingling warmth lingered in her heart? Either way, what a sight to see!
For both the woman and the little girl, Jesus’ power came through intimacy, through closeness.
His power is more than thundering might and display of Sovereignty and universe-holding. It is personal, a display of love, an embracing to make wholly well.
To experience the full gamut of Christ’s power, we trust in His all-knowing. We must invite and allow Him to come close, so close He has access to all of us, able to work deep not just in our body, but in our heart, mind and soul as well. And when His power does work deep, He brings healing, freedom, life.
Are you wonderstruck? Are you awe-filled?
The post Touch first appeared on The Overflowing
Photo from Unsplash, edited by Jessica Faith
Greek definitions and origins from The New Strong's Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible by James Strong, copyright 2010